Pteropus tonganus Quoy & Gaimard

Tongan Fruit-Bat (Pteropus tonganus)

The Tongan Fruit-Bat occurs with several subspecies in an area that stretches from New Guinea to the Cook Islands in Central Polynesia, whereby the form, that can be found in Polynesia, represents the nominate race.

These animals reach a wing span of more than one metre and spend the day more or less sleeping in roosting trees, where they sometimes form giant colonies.

In most parts of its geographic range the species is an important source of protein and is therefore heavily hunted, but also because the Fruit-Bats, being frugivores, can cause enormous damages in fruiting trees. Hence the species has become rare in some parts of its geographic range, in others it has even disappeared completely.

In the Kingdom of Tonga in contrast Tongan Fruit-Bats are considered as property of the royal family and therefore are protected from hunting – a very effective protection.

On the Cook Islands, the eastern most edge of its distribution area, the Tongan Fruit-Bat is called moa kirikiri, which means ‘leather chicken’. On the Fijian Islands it is called beka, bekua (in the west part of Viti Levu), beka dina or doli (on Kadavu).

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References:

[1] Jorge M. Palmeirim; Alan Champion; Alivereti Naikatini, Jone Niukula; Marika Tuiwawa; Martin Fisher; Mere Yabaki-Gounder; Sólveig Thorsteinsdóttir; Stanley Qalovaki; Thomas Dunn: Distribution, Status, and Conservation of Bats in the Fiji Islands. Oryx 41(4): 509-519. 2006

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Photo: Dr. Paddy Ryan; by courtesy of Dr. Paddy Ryan

http://www.ryanphotographic.com

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Cheilanthes tenuifolia (Burm. f.) Sw.

Cheilanthes tenuifolia

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rapa
Fiji: Viti Levu
Gambier Islands: Akamaru, Makaroa
Marquesas: Nuku Hiva
Samoa
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Mai’ao, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Tahiti

local names: –

Ocypode pallidula Hombron & Jacquinot

Common Ghost-Crab (Ocypode pallidula)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rurutu
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Aitutaki, Ma’uke, Mangaia, Manuae, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Tongareva
Gambier Islands: Aukena, Mangareva
Hawai’i Islands: Laysan, Midway, O’ahu
Norfolk Islands: Norfolk Island
Tuamotu Archipelago: Manihiki, Marutea (Sud), Moruroa, Raraka
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi

local names:

‘atike – Aitutaki / Cook Islands
kalami – Pukapuka / Cook Islands
kohiti – Rakahanga / Cook Islands
kohitihiti – Tongareva / Cook Islands
ko’iti – Rarotonga / Cook Islands
tike – Ma’uke / Cook Islands
tiketike – ‘Atiu, Miti’aro / Cook Islands
titorotai – Mangaia / Cook Islands

***

The Common Ghost-Crab is indigenous in the Indo-Pacific region, where it can be found running about the beaches in search for food, and digging burrows in the sand.

It is a rather small species, reaching a carapace size of about 2,5 cm in diameter.

On the Cook Islands, where the species seems to be very common, it is known by several names, including ‘atike, kalami, kohiti, kohitihiti, ko’iti, tike, tiketike and titorotai.

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References:

[1] Katsushi Sakai; Michael Türkay: Revision of the genus Ocypode with the description of a new genus, Hoplocypode (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 56(2): 665-793. 2013

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Photo: J. Poupin; by courtesy of J. Poupin

http://decpoda.ecole-navale.fr/index.php
http://decapoda.free.fr

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edited: 17.12.2018

Comodica coarctata (Clarke)

Rapa Comodica Moth (Comodica coarctata)

This species was described in the year 1971, it is so far known only from the island of Rapa.

The moth reaches a wingspan of 0,8 to 1 cm.

The caterpillars feed on dead, dry fruits or dry leaves of the Screw Pine (Pandanus tectorius Parkinson ex Du Roi), they hide themselves in a cocoon, constructed of tightly cemented silk, plant fibers and frass.

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References:

[1] J. F. G. Clarke: The Lepidoptera of Rapa Island. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 56. 1971

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Photo: Peter T. Oboyski; by courtesy of Peter T. Oboyski

http://nature.berkeley.edu/~poboyski/Lepidoptera/SocietyIslands.htm

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edited: 15.08.2017

Haloragis erecta (Murray) Oken

Haloragis erecta

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Tubuai
New Zealand: Rangatira Island (Chatham Islands); Great Barrier Island; Kapiti Island; Kermadec Islands; North Island; Aorangi Island (Poor Knights Islands); South Island; Stewart Island; Tiritiri Matangi Island; Womens Island (Titi Islands)

local names:

toatoa – New Zealand

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The nominate subspecies, Haloragis erecta ssp. erecta (Murray) Oken, is widely distributed over New Zealand, while the subspecies Haloragis erecta ssp. cartilaginea (Cheeseman) Orchard is endemic to the Surville Cliffs in the far north of New Zealand’s North Island.

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The species obviously occurs also on Raivavae and Tubuai in the Austral Archipelago. [1][2][3]

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References:

[1] H. St. John: Notes on Eugenia (Myrtaceae) and Haloragis (Haloragaceae) from southeastern Polynesia. Pacific Plant Studies 34. Phytologia 37(5): 441-442. 1977
[2] Jean-Yves Meyer: Rapport de mission de l’expédition scientifique à Raivavae et Rapa (Australes) du 18 Novembre au 20 Décembre 2002. Délégation à la Recherche, Papeete 2002
[3] Jean-Yves Meyer: Rapa, îles Australes: guide de la flore indigène et endémique. Direction de l’Environnement, Délégation à la Recherche: STPmultipress, Papeete 2011

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Photo: Peter de Lange
http://www.inaturalist.org/people/pjd1

(public domain)

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edited: 22.08.2017

Erechthias flavistriata (Walsingham)

Sugarcane Bud Moth (Erechthias flavistriata)

This species was described in the year 1907.

The larvae are known to feed on a wide range of plants including Coconut Palms, Screwpines, but also cultivated plants like Bananas, Pineapples, and Sugarcane.

The species may actually originate from Melanesia and may have been introduced to Polynesia accidently by man.

Lobelia anceps L. f.

Lobelia anceps

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Rapa
New Zealand: Rangatira Island (Chatham Islands); Great Barrier Island; Kapiti Island; Raoul Island (Kermadec Islands); North Island; Aorangi Island (Poor Knights Islands); South Island; Three Kings Islands; Tiritiri Matangi Island
Norfolk Islands: Norfolk Island

local names:

punakuru – New Zealand
purao – New Zealand
waewae-koukou – New Zealand

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This species occurs from Australia to South Africa and South America, it is found in Polynesia.

Cranfillia vulcanica (Blume) Gasper & V. A. O. Dittrich

Cranfillia vulcanica

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Rapa, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Rarotonga
Marquesas: Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
New Zealand: Chatham Islands; North Island; South Island; Stewart Island
Samoa: Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Huahine, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti
Tonga: Kao, Late, Niuafo’ou, Tofua

local names:

korokio – New Zealand

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References:

[1] André Luís Gasper; Vinícius Antonio de Oliveira Dittrich; Alan R. Smith; Alexandre Salino: A classification for Blechnaceae (Polypodiales: Polypodiopsida): New genera, resurrected names, and combinations. Phytotaxa 275(3): 191-227. 2016

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Photo: John Barkla
http://www.inaturalist.org/people/john_barkla

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0

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edited: 03.02.2018

Exelastis pumilio (Zeller)

Dwarf Feather Moth (Exelastis pumilio)

This widespread species is native to Africa and Asia, and probably also to Melanesia and parts of Polynesia, where it is found on the Fijian Islands, in Samoa, on the Austral – and the Society Islands, on the Marquesas and on the Gambier Islands.

The moths have a wingspan of 1,2 to 1,5 cm.

The caterpillars feed on various species of several plant families, including Fabaceae and Oxalidaceae.

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References:

[1] Koji Yano: Notes on South Pacific Pterophoridae (Lepidoptera). Pacific Insects 5(4): 849-871. 1963
[2] Karin S. Kami; Scott E. Miller: Samoan Insects and related Arthropods: Checklist and Bibliography.Bishop Museum Technical Report 13. 1998
[3] Neal L. Evenhuis: Checklist of Fijian Lepidoptera. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(13): 1-53. 2007

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Photo: Peter T. Oboyski; by courtesy of Peter T. Oboyski

http://nature.berkeley.edu/~poboyski/Lepidoptera/SocietyIslands.htm

Boerhavia tetrandra G. Forst.

Boerhavia tetrandra

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Maria, Raivavae, Rimatara, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Manihiki, Manuae, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Suwarrow, Takutea, Tongareva
Gambier Islands: Aukena, Gaioio, Kouaku, Mangareva, Tararua-Roa, Tauna, Tekava, Temoe, Totegegie, Vaiatekeue
Kiribati: Baker, Flint, Howland, Jarvis, Kiritimati, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra, Tabuaeran, Teraina, Vostok
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island, Oeno, Pitcairn Island (?)
Samoa: Rose Atoll
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mai’ao, Manuae, Maupiha’a, Maupiti, Mo’orea, Motu One, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Faka’ofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tuamotu Archipelago: Ahe, Ahunui, Anaa, Apataki, Arutua, Fakahina, Fakarava, Fangatau, Fangataufa, Hao, Hiti, Kauehi, Makatea, Manihi, Marutea Sud, Moruroa, Napuka, Niau, Nukutipipi, Paraoa, Rangiroa, Raraka, Raroia, Takapoto, Takaroa, Takume, Tatakoto, Tenarunga, Tepoto Nord, Tikehau, Tikei, Toau, Tureia, Vahanga, Vanavana
Tuvalu: Funafuti, Nui

local names:

katuri – Manihiki / Cook Islands
momoe – Nassau, Pukapuka / Cook Islands
naunau – Raraka / Cook Islands
runa – ‘Atiu / Cook Islands
tiale katuri – Tongareva / Cook Islands

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edited: 10.04.2019